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Friday, August 14, 2015

expat gratitude: finding & embracing my spark

A friend introduced to me to the idea of sparks. They are the things that make you happy, that make you feel alive, that make you different from the person beside you, that make you excited, that make you smile, that make your life interesting and worth living.

Sparks can be anything.
And, in my opinion, sparks are everything.

The happiest, most content people I know not only know their sparks, but live very sparkly lives. The unhappiest, least content people I know "have no sparks" because they are "busy, poor, stressed, tired
"... you get the idea. 

I was once one of those people.
I knew my sparks, but they were not a part of my daily life.
But not anymore.

My life has become so sparkly since moving to Taiwan, and I can no longer imagine my life any other way!

The other day, I read something on Pinterest of all places that I liked a lot. It was something along the lines of finding three things you love to do: one to make you money, one to help you express your creativity and one to keep you healthy. 

Since moving abroad, I have found & embraced all three and then some.
My job teaching middle school humanities is a huge spark. Running is a spark. 

And this blog and its stories and photographs are a spark, which is where my expat gratitude comes from today. 

This blog.

Boy & Girl Globetrot was born many, many years ago under the name Tales of a Wannabe Vagabond. As you can see, I have been posting on this travel & photography blog since 2009. What you don't know is that I actually started blogging in this little space long before then, more than an entire decade ago! It all started in 2004, when I returned from my first trip abroad at the age of 17. Oh the stories I had to tell then!

Since then, I have obviously made a few changes around here. First, I moved abroad and changed the name of my blog. I thought it was the right thing to do since I no longer felt like "a wannabe" traveler-- heck, I live in Taiwan! Second, I deleted the really old stuff because I no longer felt like it fit and the writing was truly atrocious give me a break, I was 17! and the photos were scanned prints I'm not gonna lie: some days I miss those posts from 2004. Third, in the last three years, I have used this blog to reach out to the expat blogging community and have since developed somewhat of a base audience. And fourth, I have learned some tiny bits of coding and this blog now actually looks like a real website and not the blogger template I chose when I signed up for Blogger.

Now, I have no intentions of ever using this blog to make money or become anything other than what it already is, a collection of our life stories. Because this little corner of the Internet is my creative spark. The words and its photos are primarily for me, so I can exercise my own creativity and passion for storytelling and crafting beautiful images.

And lucky for me, since moving abroad, I have been offered a wealth of material to write about and capture in photographs. So much so, sometimes my spark lights up like a literal sparkler and I have ideas exploding out of me, pulling me in a billion directions at once-- beef noodle, ghost festivals, the anatomy of the perfect soup dumpling, antique trains at Alishan National Park, off shore islands, religion, road trip, bus trip, train trip, SCOOT ADVENTURE! This spark impels me to get out and about. It helps me explore Taiwan and experience Taiwan. It makes sure that I will have seen this island and what it has to offer before we move on. And it gives so much more meaning to my expat experience than simply moving abroad for work.

Oh Taiwan, what an incredible adventure you have been.
And what fun I have had blogging about our time together. 

Now don't get me wrong; I have other sparks too, like cooking or enjoying a cup of coffee or playing with dogs or reading or day dreaming our next grand adventure or getting lost on my scooter or long bubble baths, and my life is so much more than this blog or Taiwan or traveling or being an expat or what I choose to showcase here. But I learned a long time ago, when I was holed up in my bedroom writing short stories with friends and then later on by myself, that writing is a huge part of who I am. It always has been and it always will be.

It is my sparkliest spark. 

I find words delicious and style ridiculously fun. Adjectives have their way with me and sometimes I feel compelled to make up words because none that exist are good enough. My heart is bursting with imagery and poetry and maybe a little bit of hyperbole.

Because of Taiwan, my spark exploded into a fireball.
Because of Taiwan, my life is the sparkliest it's ever been.
And because of Taiwan, I am the most content I've ever been.
Now I don't know about you, but I think that deserves some serious gratitude.
What is your spark?? How do you make sure you live a sparkly life??

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Add your comment

  1. You don't have to have a LOT of sparks to be happy or interesting. Just a few good ones are enough, in my honest opinion. It's very good that at your young age you know what yours is. I hope you'll never lose it, and will never believe the people who tell you that you have to settle down, and have a well paying job to be happy. You already know otherwise, and kudos to you for that! I think everyone has to have a spark. Don't fill your jar with sand (the mundane stuff) so that the marbles and golf balls (the important stuff) don't fit. (Google the reference if you've never read this story.)

    1. Agreed, just a few good ones are more than sufficient. I have found that the happier I am, the more willing I am to try new things. Sometimes, like with running, I stumble across something that is a true spark.

  2. I'm glad you shared your sparks and the Pinterest link. I felt good that I had hit all three. But just because I know and have them doesn't mean I don't have days where I'm trying to light that spark, you know? It still takes work.

    I'm also happy to hear that you've taken to Taiwan. It's where some of my friends are at and where the Chinese side of the family fled to during the Cultural Revolution - so I got to get there one day. Until then, here's to sparks and expat adventures!

    1. Oh I know. It's easy to set things on the back burner. My goal this year is to make sure I am not working too much, to the point that I set aside things that matter much more.

  3. What a great post to read! I love that idea of finding the three things. It is fantastic that moving to Taiwan ignited all those sparks for you. And I especially loved the photo you finished with - if you look at my Instagram feed (@feetonforeignlands) you'll see I'm a bit fond of the feet-selfies!! :)

  4. I want to leave a good comment, but you've said it all. Truer words couldn't have been spoken right now. Since I'm coming up to the end of my second year of blogging I was thinking about how to write about, but this is just perfect. I might have to borrow that idea of sparks!

    1. Awe, thanks!! I borrowed the idea from a friend, so you can certainly borrow it too! It's a great idea!